Will Getting a DUI Impact Your Student Loans?

March 21, 2020

If you are currently incarcerated or also convicted of a drug-related offense, then a DUI may affect your ability to obtain student loans.

Will Getting a DUI Impact Your Student Loans?

The state of California takes the crime of driving under the influence (DUI) seriously. In fact, if you are convicted of a DUI, you could be sent to jail, be put on probation, lose your license, and pay a significant fine. DUI convictions also have collateral consequences, such as higher insurance costs and difficulty obtaining a job. In most cases, however, getting a DUI will not affect your ability to keep or get federal student loans.

As a DUI defense attorney in Riverside, CA can explain, getting a DUI will generally not impact your student loans. However, it may affect your state grants and loans, as well as private student loans and scholarships. In addition, if you are currently in jail (on a DUI or other charge) or if you were also arrested for drug possession or selling drugs, you may lose existing loans and be ineligible to apply for federal student loans for up to 2 years.

Students who want federal student loans or other forms of federal student aid must fill out an application, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA). This application does not ask if you have a previous DUI conviction. It does ask if you have a prior conviction for drug possession and/or selling illegal drugs. Even if you were convicted of a DUI related to drugs, it does not have to be reported on your FASFA.

Importantly, if you had drugs in your vehicle or in your possession when you were stopped on suspicion of DUI, the police may charge you with a drug-related offense (such as drug possession). If you are convicted of this crime, you will have to report it on the FASFA. This can cause you to (1) lose any federal student aid that you currently receive and/or (2) be prohibited from receiving any type of federal student aid for up to two years. Even if you are convicted of a drug-related offense that makes you ineligible for student loans, you may be able to regain it by going to a drug rehabilitation program.

However, these rules only apply if you currently receive student aid and are actively enrolled at school when you are convicted of a drug-related offense. For example, if you decide to go to back to school as an adult, but were convicted of drug possession when you were 20, that conviction will not affect your eligibility for federal student loans.

If you are currently incarcerated for any crime, including a California DUI, you are not eligible for federal student loans. As a DUI defense attorney in Riverside, CA can explain, this rule only applies to courses that are taken while you are in jail. If you will be released soon, you can apply for federal student aid and then use the loans, grants, or other aid when you attend school outside of a detention center.

These rules can be confusing — and scary for anyone who relies on student loans and other forms of aid in order to attend college. While a DUI conviction won’t prevent you from receiving federal aid, it may still affect your ability to receive other loans and aid. That is why it is critical to hire a top-notch DUI defense attorney in Riverside, CA to defend you against DUI and other criminal charges.

The Chambers Law Firm understands the potential negative consequences of a criminal conviction, including on your ability to build a better future through education. We are fierce advocates for each of our clients, whether they are charged with a DUI or another criminal offense, such as drug possession or sales. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today at 855-397-0210 or info@orangecountyduifirm.com to schedule a free case evaluation.

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